Royals right-hander Jakob Junis went 5 1/3 innings and was victimized by some soft-contact singles in the sixth inning that chased him. Giancarlo Stanton hit a 52-mph squibber to an open right side, leading off the sixth. One batter later, Aaron Hicks blooped a 74-mph single in front of center fielder Abraham Almonte. Both inherited runners scored against reliever Tim Hill.
"I gave up some end-of-the-bat stuff and some hits that you feel should be outs," Junis said. "But ultimately, I was making the pitch I wanted to make and they just didn't fall our way. But fortunately, they didn't do much damage. I think there were like three or four ones, at least three on the infield, and that last one was a blooper. But I was happy with the pitches I made."
Junis gave up seven hits and two runs while walking one and striking out three. He threw 101 pitches. Kelvin Herrera earned his ninth save.
Merrifield, celebrating the second anniversary of his Major League callup, led off the Royals' first with a double, stole second and scored on a fielder's choice. He also singled, stole second and scored in the third. His final steal came after single in the fourth.
"[Stealing bases] puts pressure on the defense, it puts pressure on the pitcher," Merrifield said, "and it's my job to put pressure on him and make him take his focus off the hitter a little bit."
Added Yost, "When Whit gets hot, we've seen it for the last couple years, he's just a really solid, solid Major League player."
Royals catcher Salvador Perez hit his sixth home run in the fifth and finished with three RBIs.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED One of Yost's favorite type of runs is the tack-on run, and Perez provided him with one in the seventh. Leading 4-2, the Royals pushed across another tally when Mike Moustakas drew a two-out walk, and Perez sliced a fly ball past a diving Aaron Judge toward the right-field corner for a double.
"Salvy with the homer, and then the double," Yost said. "Those were both big, big runs. A Yankee team like that, the offensive team they have, there's no place to really rest. Four-to-nothing lead, you feel pretty good, you feel like you got a little leeway. Two-to-nothing lead, stuff happens quick. It was good to get that third [and fourth] run, to give you just that little extra added insurance run."
SOUND SMART The last Royal to get three hits and three stolen bases in a game, as Merrifield did on Friday night? It was Merrifield, who did so last July 2.
Merrifield also became the fifth player in franchise history to have at least three hits and three stolen bases in a game multiple times -- joining Amos Otis, Freddie Patek, Willie Wilson and Vince Coleman.
HE SAID IT "It was just the course of the season. From day one, you're not gonna hit .300. My bat felt good, but the results kinda weren't there. For me results can be deceptive sometimes. As long as I feel good in the box and I feel like I'm seeing the ball that's all I care about." -- Merrifield, on raising his average to .300 after a relatively slow start
UP NEXT Royals left-hander Danny Duffy (1-5, 6.51 ERA) will take the mound at 6:15 p.m. CT on Saturday for the middle game of this series with the Yankees at Kauffman Stadium. Righty Luis Severino (6-1, 2.14) will start for New York. Duffy, who will be making his team-leading 10th start of the season, allowed a career-high nine runs in the Royals' 11-2 loss to the Indians on Sunday.